Images: Mecum Auctions

We focus a lot on the cars and racers of the 1960’s, but it was the 1950’s that introduced America to racing on a large scale. Most Americans were unconcerned with sports cars during the 1950’s, save for exceptions like the Corvette or Thunderbird. But moonshiners and hot rods were the vangaurd of a performance revolution in this country that started with taking boring family sedans, and turning them into real race cars.

Among these die-hard racers were Glenn “Fireball” Roberts, who rode his red ‘57 Ford Fairlane to nine victories and 22 Top 5 finishes in 1957 alone. Now this famous car, restored to racing condition, is heading to the Mecum Auto Auction later this month, according to Hemmings Auto Blog.

Fireball Roberts earned his nickname for his fastball, not his driving style (or so Wikipedia says) but it cannot be doubted that the man had some serious driving skills. Though his driving career was cut tragically short by a fatal accident in 1964, up until then Fireball was making serious waves with his ‘57 Ford.

After 1958 Fireball jumped between Chevy, Pontiac, and Ford brands, but this ‘57 disappeared from history for the next 40 years. It was only in the late 90’s that this once-famous racer was found in a forest north of Charlotte, North Carolina. It was then restored to racing condition, including a 312 Y-block V8 and “three-on-the-tree” transmission. It’s a real racing legend, this car, and should bring a pretty penny at auction.